Photo (cc) 2009 by San José Public Library

This morning I want to share a really great story that Brion O’Connor wrote for The Boston Globe about family reading for kids that quotes my wife, Barbara Kennedy, who works as a library media specialist in Winchester. She’s the reader in the family — social media has turned me into a skimmer. Sorry this is behind a paywall, but here’s what Barbara has to say:

Reading aloud “helps develop language and listening skills,” said Barbara Kennedy of Medford, library media specialist at the Vinson-Owen Elementary School in Winchester. “Stories offer a way to better understand ourselves and the world and strengthens social-emotional development.

“Picture books are often powerful teachers that can offer deeper, multilayered stories,” she said. “They can build visual literacy, empathy, and comprehension. They build fundamental literacy skills. Reading them together with your kids builds reading habits and feelings that reading is a pleasurable thing.

The bottom line, said Kennedy, is that reading benefits every child, and every person. And that benefits society as a whole.

“We grow readers where I work, and the data shows if they aren’t or don’t believe they are readers by third or fourth grade, success across the board plummets and rarely gets better,” she said. “Reading is important, and doing it regularly is critical to creating engaged, curious, and empathetic people.”

Barbara also has two recommendations for books that parents can read with their kids: “Shooting at the Stars,” by John Hendrix, and “The Carpenter’s Gift: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree,” by David Rubel and Jim LaMarche.

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